Life’s Work: An Interview with Lisa Tannebaum


Renowned Harpist and Founder/President of the non profit organization Music In The Woods Lisa Tannebaum recently announced the launch of Concierge Concerts, a unique concerts-by-appointment musical concept to raise funds and awareness for the organization she presides. We had the privilege of chatting with Lisa Tannebaum. In this interview, she discusses the inspiration behind the wonderful concept Concierge Concerts as well as how she came to be a professional Harpist, performing in prestigious venues all over the world.

1- You are such a wonderful harpist. Can you tell us more about your career path, and how you got to where you are today?

I appreciate this wonderful compliment!  My career path has been anything but traditional. Most musicians begin their journey at a younger age. I realized I wanted a career as a harpist much later in life. I strive for the highest level of performance, and I am attaining that at a much older, non-traditional age. I study with musicians that have mastered instruments other than the harp, to understand the clarity of music from a different perspective.

2- With Music In The Woods, it’s clear that you like teaching. Can you tell us more about what teaching means for you, and how this influences your work as a concert artist?

I get a great feeling when someone understands the message I am relaying. I like when I can organize myself in such a way that I can teach my students the necessary methods needed to achieve their goals with the harp. It is a great feeling of accomplishment, that someone’s life will have changed a little bit, based on something I have taught them. Teaching influences my performance as well. In order to teach, I must have clear points, ways of playing/listening, and the ability to verbalize these ideas. In doing so, I can clarify what is important in my own playing.

3- Who have you studied the harp with? What was your first encounter with the harp? What was so special about this instrument? When did you start the harp?

I started with harpist, Beverly Myrow. After that, I studied with many different concert harpists. My first professional encounter was with harpist Kathy Kienzle, who opened my eyes to the artistry of the harp, and a wonderful career through her eyes. Although I began the harp at a younger age, I really didn’t start my musical studies until I was 24. That was when I learned about rhythms, harp techniques, and the musical language. As mentioned above, I took a different approach by studying music with non-harpists to gain a different perspective.

4- What advice would you give to an aspiring harpist at the start of his or her career? They cannot all teach but how can they find their own path?

I would say, lock into what you love most about the harp. Concerts, playing in an orchestra, or teaching; try to build a career from what you are passionate about and continue to grow and elaborate on those things. Also, take lessons from non-harpists so you can get a worldly, well rounded, view of music!

5- What is your expectation from your crowd when you play?

I believe the expectation is to bring them to a higher level of understanding themselves through music. I expect that they are brought into the present moment with different feelings of emotion, expectation, and reflection. Musicians can give the listener the ability to experience emotions that they haven’t felt in a long time.

6- What are the plans for future works either collaborating with other artists, organization or working individually?

I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with astounding artists, dancers, composers and musicians. I want to continue to do my concierge concerts for Music in the Woods with different artists. I want to work with living composers on new music for the harp. I plan on continuing to develop and expand my current projects to create an inclusive and collaborative environment within my local artistic community and beyond.

7- What’s the career accomplishment that you’re most proud of?

I have so many ideas, and new projects I’m working on! My greatest achievement will be seeing them all come together.

8- What’s your absolute favorite piece to play on the harp and why?

The answer to this question continues to change! My absolute favorite piece is always the piece I am working on at any given moment. The more I work on a piece, the more I begin to hear the subtle nuances. I want to go deeper into the music and learn all their secrets, so I am most excited about the piece I am playing.

9- Complete this sentence: If you weren’t a harpist, you’d be a…


10 – Finally, if you want to recommend music for our own playlist, who you are listening to at the moment, favourite song or artist and what is the real wow moment for your when you listen to music?

I am listening to Benny Goodman and other artists. The wow moment is anything that gets me excited or hits me emotionally in some way.

For more information on Lisa Tannebaum’s scheduled events, visit her website: